How I Was Drawn to the Table with Heart …

Welcome to the weekend!
A long weekend at that.  Nice!

When last I was here, I shared with you several tables with heart … and gave you a sneak peek at the newest one.  I also told you how surprised I was to know it existed … and how humbled to be one of the first invited to sit around it.

I also promised to tell you “the rest of the story.”  Here ’tis …

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, this property was home to our girls at Hope Unlimited for Children.  We called it the Girls’ Ranch.  Creative huh?

It was “home” for many years, but the property is adjacent to the new, “under construction” Campinas airport … and we had an opportunity to sell it at a great price.  Even so, I’ll admit that I traveled to Brazil last week with a slight sadness just knowing there would be no more fun times at the Girls’ Ranch.

So where are the girls now?  Well …  They’re ten minutes away at the City of Youth — the location of Hope Unlimited’s educational facilities and home to our boys.  Except … because the girls needed temporary housing, the children are attending public school for awhile … and the girls moved into the classrooms.  Did you follow that?

In typical little girl fashion, they excitedly lined up outside of their homes and invited us to come see.  I thought you might like to see some of their rooms, tooThe girls (and their fantastic housemothers!) had such great attitudes and didn’t seem to mind the inconveniences.  They’re very patient.

So what are they waiting on?  Well, in typical God fashion, the sale of the Girls’ Ranch included some totally unexpected blessings:  a work crew to build a new facility at the City of Youth for the girls AND to disassemble and move anything we wanted to keep, including the swimming pool and palm trees! Who’s smiling now?

Our creative staff decided to replicate the floorplan of the Girls’ Ranch houses … but to make the new facility multi-level.  Each “house” has this (or a mirror image of this) floorplan and will house 16 girls plus their houseparent.FloorplanGirlsHouse

Unfortunately, in typical Brazil fashion, the rainy season slowed down work, and the promised large work crew has been replaced with a much smaller one … and so the progress is slow albeit steady.

Check it out …

I had a blast walking through the space and seeing all the wonderful “new” that the children and staff will be getting … but I was totally unprepared for the biggest surprise of all:  The staff had worked hard to prepare a “model home” where we would eat lunch!

I loved hearing how they stretched their funds, even finding someone to build solid wood chairs that will survive the “wiggle butts” of little girls!

Oh, the girls are going to be so excited!

So are the houseparents!

The spirit of the staff as they shared the space with us was just beautiful … and the delicious meal they served was a treat!

Notice the creative way they found extra counter space?

This table … lovingly set to receive its first guests … was inaugurated with thanksgiving, laughter, and friendship by the Board of Hope Unlimited, their guests, and some of Hope’s staff.

But before we left, we had the privilege of praying over the space, asking God to anoint it with protection and blessing even as we prayed the same for the children who will call it “home.”  Some of our group immediately felt drawn to the bedrooms where the girls will sleep, praying God’s peace for each child in the quietest hours of the night … when loneliness and the deepest pains of their pasts threaten to overwhelm them.

I was drawn to the table.  As I stood beside each chair … touching them one by one … I thought of the girls who will sit around that table.  Girls whose faces I already know — and girls who are as yet unknown to anyone but God.  Children, on average 10-16 years of age, who must face devastating circumstances before they’re qualified to come to the table.  How tragic is that?

Little girls who have faced abandonment by family and society, unspeakable abuses, and unimaginable exploitation, often including forced prostitution. (Even the youngest ones.)    

But this table has heart — a really big heart — and it must … because those who will sit around it desperately need all of the acceptance and embrace, the love and security, the stability and hope that it can offer. I am blessed to pray for them and to claim this promise on their behalf …

I invite you to join me.
To learn more about how you can encourage these young girls, click the pics below.


  1. I didn’t realize that I had missed the previous post until I got to the end of this one. Today, I got to read both of them.

    As I was reading this one, I kept thinking in my heart, “Surely the Presence of the LORD is in this place.”

    I love how you put Jeremiah 29:11 in the middle of that plate. At first, I thought that it was actually on the plate itself. I wish you could find plates for them with that on it. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

  2. This was a story worth waiting for, Susan! Very uplifting! I’m sorry the construction is taking longer than expected, but that’s kind of the way it goes it would seem. (Calling to mind that it took the better part of 2 months to have our house painted with wood rot repair. That’s a job that should have taken a week…tops!) I’m glad to see the progress that is being made, and I’m equally thrilled to see that the girls have temporary living quarters that seem to be acceptable to them. The model house looks terrific!!!!!!

    My eyes were IMMEDIATELY drawn to the creative use of the sink area for countertop space!!!! 🙂 Swiping that idea!

    It is so sad that these little girls – or little girls anywhere for that matter – are forced into such degrading circumstances. It’s not just sad…it’s criminal and, in my mind anyway, unforgivable. Prostitution. For cryin’ out loud! That is just as sick and depraved as it gets. They’re little kids! They shouldn’t even KNOW about that stuff at that age, let alone be forced into participation!!!! Just makes me wanna smack a whole lot of people!!!

    Thank goodness for people like you and your group who work tirelessly to see to it that these girls have a chance at a better life.

    • Alycia, I couldn’t agree more! The truth is, ALL of us doing SOMETHING can actually make a difference. People tend to think charities do their work because of large monetary gifts. In Hope Unlimited’s case at least, it’s a monthly commitment to consistent small gifts that allow us to minister to the children. For example, a ThriveTeam sponsorship is only $35/month — less than the cost of a moderate dinner for two. A forgettable night out … or a future for a child. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

  3. What a wonderful ministry you are blessed to be part of. My prayer is that the Lord will continue to pour out his blessings on Hope Unlimited! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!

  4. I’m sure a move from a place that meant security and comfort was not easy for the girls but the personal touches will have made the transition easier. As a retired interior designer, I know it isn’t all about magazine shoots but rather what makes a space function so the people who live in it are the very best they can be.